2014 Trail Running Camp at Dippikill

This past weekend I finally participated in something I’ve been wanting to do for a while–but couldn’t for various reasons–the ARE’s Trail Running Camp! TRC is a three night getaway at Camp Dippikill in the Adirondacks for runners who want to learn more about/experience some trail running. It’s open to runners of all abilities and is pretty much a guaranteed fun time.

Thursday night

I arrived at around 4:45 on Thursday night, checked in and got my bib for the evening’s run, along with our handbook and our Frog. The theme of camp is Frogs–because of the Froggy Five Mile Race held on Sunday. Frogs were everywhere!





I was staying in Garnet Lodge with my friend Loretta, once of the nicer lodges on the facility. We had electric, woohoo!


After getting settled in we had a 5:30PM group run. We got to meet our fellow campers and had the option of running various trails throughout the woods around Dippikill. I chose a shorter 1 mile loop and did it twice. It was such a nice night for running.


After our run, we had some dinner (all meals were provided for us, cooked by the awesome John, one of the staff members at camp!) and an orientation, followed by s’mores. Also, the camp was BYOB so campers must be 21+ and are allowed to bring their own adult beverages. :-D



Yes! It really felt like Summer camp for adults (which it pretty much was)–which is fun for me since I never went to summer camp as a kid.


Friday morning we had another run. I chose the Pond loop, a 2.6 mi look down to Dippikill Pond. It was gorgeous!



After the morning run, I went to a seminar on running injuries, which was really interesting. We learned some important ways to prevent injuries (LESS SITTING!) and how to properly stretch. Followed by that, I went to the first yoga class of the day. We had the option of going to ab workout class, but I chose yoga instead.


The yoga was intense and was something my tight running legs needed. I hadn’t done yoga in a long time. After yoga, it was time for swimming. Or better yet, kayaking! There were canoes and kayaks down by the lake so I grabbed a kayak and just paddled around the pond for a bit, while the other swam. It was nice and relaxing.




After our pond adventure, there was more yoga. This session focused on stretching the hips and IT band, and it hurt! But in a good way. After dinner there was trivia. This was really fun and our team tied for first place, which was awesome. There was also an ice cream social. :-D


Saturday was the Run & Tube event. This was open to other ARE members, so a few people came up just for this. Saturday morning we took vans to a tubing company in Lake Luzurne, where the tubing bus dropped us off five miles from the launch point on the Hudson River. We ran the five miles (or had an option of three miles), down.  I was kind of worried about how tired my legs would be but they held up fine.  It was time to cool off after our run.




We really had the perfect weekend for all this.

When we got back to camp, we had some down time. After dinner there was the famous Talent Show, which was really fun. Some of the skits were hilarious. It ended with a video recapping the weekend.

Sunday morning

Sunday was the last day of TRC :-( and the Froggy Five Mile Trail Race! The race/run goes all the way up Dippikill Mountain and back down again. I just wanted to enjoy it and did a run/hike, since I was determined NOT to fall and get injured.


The race start.


So many frogs.

At the halfway point of the race, there was a summit and a gorgeous view of the Adirondacks. I stopped just in time to take picture and then went on my way. And just because I’m a hiking nerd, I had to find: out the summit of Dippikill is 1,562′ in elevation. I was worried again about how tired my legs would feel, but they were fine. I think the yoga and stretching helped a lot.

1,562 ft
1,562 ft
1,562 ft


I finished in 1 hour, 11 minutes, which is pretty slow, but who cares. I just wanted to enjoy it. There was a BBQ following the Froggy Five and with that–camp was over. We squeezed a lot in over the three days and it was so much fun. The ARE does such a great job at organizing this event, I was really impressed. It was one of the best weekends of my summer so far, because I got do everything I truly love in one weekend: trail running/hiking, kayaking, yoga, spending the entire weekend outdoors enjoying my favorite place, the Adirondacks. I’m definitely going to try to go back next year!

Saratoga Springs Half Marathon

Good morning and happy Monday! A couple weeks ago I made the last minute decision to run the a new local races, the Saratoga Springs Half Marathon located in the Saratoga Spa State Park! With about 350 runners, this was a smaller race. The race started at 7:30am right near the Peerless Pool at the park, there were lots of spots to park, and no long lines for bathrooms or packet pickup. Now that’s what I like to see.


The race started promptly, and began with a loop on the grass around the parking lot. Then it was off onto the roads throughout the park.


It also took us near the SPAC parking lot, and through some of the roads near there.


Then we ran down Avenue of the Pines, which was was nice.


Then we turned right onto Route 9 for just a little bit. Kind of annoying running next to traffic (we were on the shoulder–but the right lane was closed off)–but this part was slightly downhill and we got a nice breeze.


Then we took another right back into the park for a second loop. I didn’t mind the loops because by the second one I knew what was coming. Although I did feel like time was moving rather slowly and felt like I had been running forever. I didn’t walk that much, just briefly through the water stops (which were adequate by the way-but they ran out of electrolytes by end of my  last lap) and on a few hills, but that was it, and felt fairly strong for the majority of the race, despite the humidity. The lack of sun definitely helped, since it was mostly overcast yesterday morning.

I finished in 2:21:43, for a 10:45 average pace. Half marathon #15 is in the books (I think?).


We got nice large, medals with the horse logo, along with some bright orange shirts that fit pretty nice. We also had the option to purchase a pint glass with the logo on it (I did because I’m a sucker for those things.) At the end there was also food: donuts, cookies, cupcakes, bread, bananas, water…but because of the heat I couldn’t stomach anything but an ice cold Gatorade that I had brought with me. It was a nice, no-frills, small race in Saratoga.

Summer Run

Monday night I went for a run, right after one of our crazy afternoon thunderstorms. The sky looked really pretty so I had to snap a quick photo!


Summer 2014 Races

Believe it or not, I am still running!

After the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill hat trick I was only running a few times during the week. Nothing major. I actually haven’t run a long run since the races, so that’s what this weekend will be for. I’m aiming for a 10 miler to officially start marathon training!

I kind of keep forgetting I’m running the Marine Corps Marathon in October!

Since I need some help getting motivated to start training, I signed up for a new local half marathon. On July 13 I’m running the Saratoga Springs Strong to Serve Half Marathon.

Saratoga Half

The course is two loops around Saratoga Spa State Park and claims to be fast and flat. We’ll see. I have no time goals obviously, I just want to get the miles in and enjoy running a new local race.

A week later I’m running the Froggy Five Mile trail race in the Adirondacks at Dippikill in conjunction with the Albany Running Exchange’s trail running camp, which I’m also excited for!  Trail running all weekend in the ADK? Sign me up!

I don’t have any other races planned until possibly September, so the rest of the summer will be devoted to upping my mileage during marathon training.

Hiking Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge

Another beautiful weekend behind us. What fantastic weather we had this past weekend. Perfect for a hike, right? Of course. I made a last minute decision to head up North again to tackle a peak or two. Giant was on my list of hikes to do this year and I couldn’t wait to do it.


My friend Brendan and I arrived at the trailhead at 7:30AM Saturday and took the Ridge Trail to Giant. The entire way was just a steep climb with few flat portions to catch your breath. I was struggling up the mountain, but took my time and took a few water breaks. We arrived at the Washbowl after about an hour of climbing. It was gorgeous.


A quick stop for a photo, then back to climbing.






There were many views on this trail once we got up high enough. There were a lot of open rock portions where we had a view from any angle. So amazing.


Some tricky parts.







Now we were above the Washbowl!




I’m seriously so spoiled.


Giant Mountain for Number 9.



We had a snack or two on top of Giant at 10:15AM! We were thinking it was not even 10:30 and we had already climbed a mountain. What! Then it was on to the next, Rocky Peak!


We saw the trail to Rocky from Giant was only 1.1 miles. Easy, right? Eh..

It was a lot of butt sliding down slippery wet rock. Going down the other side of Giant took longer than we thought–but going up Rocky Peak wasn’t bad at all. Finally, around 12:10 we hit our second summit of the day, Rocky Peak!







And Rocky Peak makes 10.


We sat around enjoying the warmth and had another snack. We stayed on top for about 30 minutes, preparing for the trip back down Rocky and back up Giant.


When we hit the sign for Giant’s summit, we decided to go back on to the summit again just because. It was around 2:45. This time it was much more crowded! We stayed for a few minutes, then back down we went.


Back at the Washbowl, about an hour of hiking left.

Going down is always harder, especially on my feet! My feet were getting tired at this point and I was getting anxious for some cold water. My water was warm and not very tasty after being in a bladder all day.

Finally at 4:10 we hit the trail register. Done. I had a bottle of Gatorade in the car that I was dreaming about the whole hike.

There were cars lined up and down the Route 73. It was a busy day in the high peaks for sure!


Giant and Rocky Peak via the Ridge Trail

The Ridge Trail to Giant Summit: 3 mi
Ascent: 3050′
High Peak Rank: 12
Elevation: 4,626′

Rocky Peak Ridge from Giant: 1.3 mi, 2.6 mi RT
Ascent: 1400′ ascent
High Peak Rank: 20
Elevation: 4,390′

Total Distance:  8.6 miles RT
Time with stops: ~8 hrs